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'Pak quake money in UK terror plot'

Probe by a Pak daily reveals quake relief was transferred to bank accounts of 3 individuals to fund the terror bid.

india Updated: Aug 12, 2006 15:56 IST

Money sent to Pakistan for quake rehabilitation was used to fund the Heathrow bomb attack plot that was foiled by British authorities, says an investigation by a leading Pakistani daily.

According to the Daily Times, the Muslim Charity of UK remitted a huge amount of money to three individuals in three different bank accounts in Mirpur, Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) in December 2005 as earthquake relief.

But the money in the three accounts in Saudi Pak Bank, Standard Chartered and Habib Bank Ltd was solely for the purpose of financing the foiled bomb plot, the paper said.

According to the report, two of the recipients are British citizens of Kashmir origin while the third is an Islamabad-based builder, also of Kashmir origin.

Officials said that all three have been arrested, but it is still not known whether the three had any links to militant organisations such as the Al-Qaeda or Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

An official said that UK National Terrorist Financial Investigation Unit authorities asked them to carry out 'discreet enquiries' about large sums of money being transferred by charities to accounts in Pakistan.

Following the tip off, the three were arrested. Interrogation of the suspects revealed some key elements of the aircraft bombing plan. It was then that Pakistani officials informed British authorities about the plan and the terror attempt was successfully foiled, said an official.

"Had we been even slightly complacent, the perpetrators of this plot might have been able to carry out their operations without little or no problem in the UK," the paper quoted a senior government official, privy to the inquiry, as saying.

The official said NTFIU had told them that a huge amount of money had been transferred from Britain to PoK for quake relief efforts two months after the quake.

"Neither the amount nor the purpose for which money was sent caused any concern in the British investigation unit. What raised alarm among British sleuths specialising in finances was the fact that the entire money was remitted to three individuals, not to any organisation or organisations involved in the relief work," he said.

"The entire transaction was in Pound Sterling. It was a huge amount. Had it not gone into the accounts of individuals, nobody would have been bothered," he added.

First Published: Aug 12, 2006 15:30 IST